Whether our own life was devastated by porn or a loved one’s, there comes a time in our healing journey when we start wanting to fight back. The question quickly becomes, “How?”
How do I, the individual hurt by pornography, take on this supernaturally large steamroller powered by the porn industry, sex trafficking industry, and even mainstream media? How do I stop this steamroller from flattening other lives and families?
Remember the First Step Is to Heal
As I explain in my book Beyond Betrayal, the first step we need to take before we begin a larger battle is to complete our personal one. In the book I explain to Christian wives of porn and sex addicts:
“No one expects people who have been run over by a truck to get up and start trying to dismantle the vehicle that struck them… We need to be patient with ourselves and seek out the healing we need. We should ask God for the wisdom to know what things we used to do that we could let go of right now. We can also ask Him for the strength to serve in those areas we are still called to. Healing is our number one priority.”
That is equally true for those who have had to battle a porn addiction or regular pornography use. While everyone’s recovery/healing journey is unique, we can expect that this journey is going to take years, not months.
Small Ways We Can Engage the Larger Battle While Healing
Now this doesn’t mean we are powerless to engage the larger worldwide battle prior to having obtained significant sobriety and healing. It does mean, however, that we may need to start small if we are still in the early days.
In my many talks with wives of porn and sex addicts over the course of my eight years as a writer, researcher, and counselor in this field, I’ve heard many great ideas for “baby steps.” These include:
- Limiting our own and our children’s exposure to sexualized media and porn: through filtering and accountability software, but also through purging the movie, video game, and music collections and re-thinking some (or all) of our TV viewing choices
- Suggesting our church, school group, community organization bring in a speaker to address the issue of the harms of pornography. For an idea of people who speak on this issue, check out organizations such a Protect Young Eyes, Naked Truth Project, Be Broken Ministries, Brushfires Foundation and Christian Sex Addiction Specialists International (C-SASI).
- Donating to organizations that are doing something: including those previously mentioned, as well as one of the many organizations fighting the pornography and sex trafficking industries, or an organization such as Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists (APSATS) that is supporting wives of porn addicts.
- Talking to business owners (some do it more politely, others more firmly) about the sexualized media they have displayed in their stores. We may even decide to write to legislators and others who have influence over the availability of porn in our community.
Take It Further By Sharing Your Story
A slightly bigger and riskier step is to begin to share some of our story with safe people. By safe people I mean those who have the compassion not to condemn, the wisdom to perceive the problem, and the emotional capacity to be able to hold our pain with us. Some will only be able to find this kind of safety with a counsellor who specializes in porn/sex addiction or betrayal trauma, or a support group for sex addicts or partners of sex addicts. Most of us, though, have friends, family and others who we can safely talk to, at least to some degree.
Often as we begin to share, others share back. It’s hard to be the first person in a group to admit to a problem, especially one of a sexual nature, but statistics tell us we are not alone. Once we are known as someone who “gets it” people will begin to approach us to share their own story and ask questions about the healing journey. We don’t have to be a world-leading expert to help others in our church or community group–we just need to be a step or two ahead of them on the path.
Also, for those of us who are parents or grandparents, we can fight back against the porn juggernaut by having ongoing conversations with the young people in our lives about healthy sexuality and the challenge of growing up in today’s pornified world. In these conversations we may choose to share some of our story. If we’re uncertain how much to share, a therapist, coach or church leader trained in sex addiction or partner of sex addict trauma can probably give us guidance on this.
Get Trained Up to Help Others
Those of us who have benefitted from counseling, coaching or a support group are often keen, in time, to “give back” in the same way we have received. However, before we start organizing a local support group for those trying to kick porn or their traumatized spouses/partners, it is advisable to get some training on leading groups, through an organization such as A Door of Hope.
Similarly, if we wish to offer counseling support (whether therapeutic or pastoral), we would be well-advised to get some training on how to do this. Having our own journey gives us a degree of education, but no two journeys are the same. Thus, it can be incredibly valuable to seek out sex addiction/betrayal trauma training, and perhaps even certification.
Education can be sought out formally—through an organization such as C-SASI that specializes in training therapists, coaches, and church leaders—or informally. A great opportunity for informal education is coming up in April at the Redeeming Sexuality and Intimacy conference, where a number of the experts who regularly contribute to the Covenant Eyes’ blog will be speaking and teaching.
Play to Our Strengths… and Weaknesses
As we consider the various ways we might work to stop the porn steamroller from flattening lives, let’s remember that each of us has unique strengths we can lend to the cause. That said, being willing to recognize our former (or current) weakness—as someone whose life has been devastated by porn—could ultimately be the greatest strength we bring to this fight.
Lisa Taylor is a New Zealand-based clinical counselor specializing in partner-of-sex-addict trauma and sex addiction. She works with Naked Truth Project, in the UK and is a board member of Christian Sex Addiction Specialists International. Lisa’s books on the topic of sex addiction and betrayal trauma include, the award winning Beyond Betrayal: How God is Healing Women (and Couples) from Infidelity, Beyond Betrayal Couple’s Guide and There’s WHAT on my Phone? (youth fiction). Connect with her at Beyond Betrayal.